• Milestones in automation technology history

    Milestones in automation technology history

    The term “personal computer (PC)”, became increasingly and exclusively associated with the IBM PC and its IBM-compatible PC-replicas from 1981 onwards. Variants of the x86 processor family were installed and the DOS operating system was used. In 1986, Beckhoff modified the hardware and operating system in such a way that motion control could also be implemented with it – a long and, above all, innovative and successful path to today's modular TwinCAT 3 software generation.
  • Convergence of IT and OT

    Convergence of IT and OT

    One of the reasons for the success of PC-based control technology from Beckhoff is the constant focus on adopting standard IT for industrial purposes. What hardware is being used successfully in that area? How does standard IT actually make good software and what communication options are used? In addition to corresponding hardware developments, proven software trends in IT are also incorporated into PC-based control, so that TwinCAT users can take full advantage of the convergence between IT and OT.
  • Functional areas in engineering and runtime applications

    Functional areas in engineering and runtime applications

    TwinCAT is a comprehensive automation software suite with matching components for use in many different application areas. On the one hand, these include the engineering products for configuring and programming an application. On the other hand, the so-called runtime products are available, the basis of which is the real-time environment for a variety of operating systems.
  • TwinCAT user statements

    TwinCAT user statements

    Openness, consistency, comprehensive functionality and, above all, the connection between IT and automation technology (AT) are the key features that users value in TwinCAT 3 as a future-oriented software platform. This was confirmed by Peter Kurhajec from Slovakian machine manufacturer MTS and Jakob Sagatowski from Dry Phase Patterning, a Swedish manufacturer of systems for electronic circuitry manufacturing, during an expert panel discussion.
  • TwinCAT Engineering

    TwinCAT Engineering

    When calculating the costs of a machine or plant, the engineering part is often overlooked or underestimated. Moreover, in some cases, the engineering costs are very high and include more than the initial development costs. They may cover the costs for commissioning and maintenance – including troubleshooting and further development – over the entire service life of the machine or system. Here TwinCAT software represents an ideal solution with its integration in Visual Studio® and many additional functions.
  • TwinCAT Cloud Engineering

    TwinCAT Cloud Engineering

    Billions of devices are able to connect via a scalable infrastructure provided by the cloud. Cloud computing also presents a huge opportunity for machine builders and plant operators: By maximizing the potential of PC- and cloud-based control technology to create automation networks, they can gain and retain a competitive edge over the intermediate and longer term.
  • TwinCAT OPC UA

    TwinCAT OPC UA

    A fundamental challenge of Industrie 4.0 and IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) applications is the secure, standardized exchange of data and information between devices, machines and services – even across industry boundaries. OPC UA is the industry standard for manufacturer- and platform-independent communication and it can be used extremely efficiently with TwinCAT.
  • TwinCAT PLC

    TwinCAT PLC

    Programmable logic controls (PLCs) have been known and popular throughout industry for versatile applications for many years. Since 1994, control applications have been programmed according to the IEC 61131-3 standard. TwinCAT PLC software also supports this standard, which describes not only PLC programming languages, but a complete architecture for machine control logic. It describes tasks, blocks of code, data types and programming languages, among other things.
  • TwinCAT Motion Control: Introduction

    TwinCAT Motion Control: Introduction

    For motion control in manufacturing and assembly processes, building automation or the entertainment industry, engineers often must implement a comprehensive range of movements from simple to complex. The TwinCAT Motion Control product family, however, offers the ideal software solution for every task. TwinCAT Motion Control, just like TwinCAT in general, is composed of a large number of modules, from which the perfect solution can be put together for a specific task.
  • TwinCAT Motion: Robotics

    TwinCAT Motion: Robotics

    Robots are freely programmable motion machines with multiple axes, which typically perform handling tasks, but can also perform manufacturing processes. TwinCAT Motion software products provide programmable logic control functions for robotics, as well as kinematic transformation functions, which are independent of actual robot mechanics.
  • TwinCAT Motion: CNC and NC I

    TwinCAT Motion: CNC and NC I

    The requirements for modern path control systems are manifold. Dynamic axis control with high contour fidelity, flexibility in application coupled with simple commissioning, and openness combined with high operational reliability are just some of the key aspects that sometimes even compete with each other. Beckhoff meets these specifications with two complementary motion software products: TwinCAT NC I and TwinCAT CNC.
  • TwinCAT Motion: XTS and XPlanar

    TwinCAT Motion: XTS and XPlanar

    With XTS and XPlanar, Beckhoff has two multi-mover systems in its portfolio that are not only very complex electronically and mechanically, but also place high demands on the software. These mechatronic systems are completely controlled by a standard Industrial PC and TwinCAT, including the position control and the motion or path planning of the individual movers.
  • TwinCAT and Scientific Automation

    TwinCAT and Scientific Automation

    Scientific Automation describes the integration of a wide range of engineering knowledge into automation technology. Following this definition, Beckhoff has been developing powerful solutions since 2008 that show that much more than “just” standard automation is possible with a PC-based control platform.
  • TwinCAT Analytics

    TwinCAT Analytics

    Data is gold – why, actually? Because they have a lot to “say.” This also applies in the industrial environment and especially for machines. TwinCAT Analytics helps to evaluate and interpret machine, production and operating parameters in order to generate added value for machine builders, system integrators, producers and end users.
  • TwinCAT Vision

    TwinCAT Vision

    Image processing is now fully integrated into both engineering and runtime and can be configured and programmed in the same way as motion axes would be in the PLC environment.
  • TwinCAT Machine Learning

    TwinCAT Machine Learning

    TwinCAT software has always been characterized by its modularity and openness, which has repeatedly opened up new possibilities for automation through the integration of previously standalone technologies, such as image processing and condition monitoring. The use of artificial intelligence (AI) elements in particular promises additional optimization potential in automation. Machine learning (ML), which is seamlessly integrated into control technology with TwinCAT Machine Learning, is considered the most promising technology here.
  • TwinCAT MATLAB®/Simulink®

    TwinCAT MATLAB®/Simulink®

    In addition to traditional PLC programming according to IEC 61131-3 and high-level language programming with C++, TwinCAT also supports MATLAB® and Simulink®. Furthermore, this application in the Beckhoff automation suite is already established as a successful software platform – with the use of MATLAB®/Simulink® by more than 2,000 engineers on more than 6,500 TwinCAT-controlled machines.
  • TwinCAT C++

    TwinCAT C++

    C++ is one of the most widely used programming languages, especially when it comes to hardware-related programming. The continuous development of C++, which has been reflected over the last decades in the advancement of compilers and tooling, is driven by an active developer community. This was reason enough for Beckhoff to offer C++ as a real-time programming language in TwinCAT automation software.
  • TwinCAT Safety

    TwinCAT Safety

    The TwinCAT development environment continues to add functionality in a number of application areas, and machine safety projects are no exception. Starting with the management of safety-relevant applications in TwinCAT 2, TwinCAT 3 now offers all options for the intuitive implementation of both simple and highly complex safety applications.
  • TwinCAT Communications

    TwinCAT Communications

    An open control system such as TwinCAT primarily consists of core functions that make up the actual controls. These include the real-time system as the foundation, the PLC as the programming platform for the system developer, motion control and many other functions. Just as important, however, is the control system’s ability to communicate, which is what makes the control functions usable and, above all, ensures the expandability of a specific application.
  • TwinCAT HMI

    TwinCAT HMI

    The human-machine interface is subject to increasingly stringent requirements. A machine’s operator interface should look appealing and reflect the corporate identity of the company. In addition, the user experience must meet modern expectations, with optimized programming and development times. TwinCAT HMI meets all these requirements and shapes the path for next generation HMIs.
  • TwinCAT real-time extension

    TwinCAT real-time extension

    PC-based control is the combination of generally available technology from the IT world with specialized functions for automation technology. A standard operating system and standard PC hardware are used for this purpose. The de-facto standard for operating systems in the business sector is Microsoft Windows, which has been upgraded for automation technology with a powerful real-time extension and TwinCAT.
  • TwinCAT I/O and EtherCAT

    TwinCAT I/O and EtherCAT

    A significant turning point for the I/O level of TwinCAT was the development and introduction of EtherCAT in 2003. TwinCAT and EtherCAT not only share a common naming methodology, but also complement each other to form a very powerful control system with powerful features that will remain state-of-the-art well into the future.
  • TwinCAT runtime and operating systems

    TwinCAT runtime and operating systems

    TwinCAT Runtime is the execution layer for programs developed using TwinCAT Engineering (XAE). The runtime application provides the required environment for previously compiled modules. TwinCAT Runtime is not only available for several CPU platforms, but also for different operating systems.
  • TwinCAT and diverse industry requirements

    TwinCAT and diverse industry requirements

    PC-based control – and TwinCAT software specifically – represent a universal control technology that is ideal for use in a wide range of applications. However, requirements that are indispensable for specific industries are also covered, e.g. through precisely tailored extensions in TwinCAT Functions. The following industry examples illustrate the wide range of applications for PC-based control and TwinCAT.
  • TwinCAT and eXtreme Fast Control (XFC)

    TwinCAT and eXtreme Fast Control (XFC)

    eXtreme Fast Control (XFC) technology represents the perfectly balanced combination of Beckhoff hardware and software products in order to implement an incredibly fast control solution.
  • TwinCAT and Security

    TwinCAT and Security

    The early decision to implement TwinCAT on PC-based control systems with operating systems from the IT sector proved advantageous for IT security, because all functions originally developed for mass market IT systems were readily available for use with TwinCAT.